The World Anti-Doping Code is unambiguous: athletes are responsible for their consumption in the event of a test. It is therefore fundamental for them, as for their supervision, to ensure that the drugs and food supplements provided to them do not contain prohibited substances. Which is, for food supplements, much more common than what is commonly accepted. Not to mention the health risks that repeated intake of these foods can cause.
To remain vigilant
The dietary supplement does not meet specifications or its manufacturing process endangers its integrity through cross-contamination, or even intentional, with doping products.
There are many cases where doping molecules on the list of prohibited substances have been found in food supplements. Studies have shown that between 15 and 25% of food supplements sold contain doping substances not mentioned in the instructions. It is generally:
The manufacturing process does not ensure the integrity of the food supplement which may come into contact, sometimes voluntarily, with prohibited substances.
The composition of the supplement is not exhaustive and does not indicate the presence of a potentially prohibited ingredient.
The consequences for the athlete can therefore be dramatic without his moral integrity being ever called into question in the process.
If the food supplement contains doping molecules, even without the knowledge of the athlete, he will be considered responsible and penalized.
The quality of a food supplement with traces of doping product (s) is seriously to be questioned. In addition to the dramatic consequences on the health of the athlete that the presence of prohibited substances can cause, there is also a good chance that it is falsified and / or adulterated.
There is also a great risk that prolonged consumption of such dietary supplements will cause dangerous interactions, with potentially serious adverse effects.
Healthcare professionals are there to answer all of your questions regarding your nutritional needs.
Do not buy dietary supplements of questionable origin, especially on the internet or from an untrustworthy retailer. The AFNOR NF V94-001 standard can be an indicator of reliability, but it is not infallible.
Avoid using, prolonged, repeated or multiple, without being advised by a health professional. The health risks, even with products that do not contain any prohibited substances, are real.
Any undesirable effects that have occurred following the intake of a dietary supplement, no matter how small, should be reported to your doctor or pharmacist.
Do not persist in error. Too often, athletes lock themselves into their sporting practices and cut themselves off from reality as well as from their loved ones.
When you introduce yourself to a doctor or pharmacist, identify yourself as an athlete. They will then be more vigilant in their prescriptions of food supplements.
What is a food supplement?
Food supplements, as their name suggests, are foods that have the function of supplementing a normal diet. It is a concentrated source of nutrients (minerals and / or vitamins) or other products, based on plants or plant extracts.
In most cases, they are presented in the form of tablets, capsules, powder or even ampoules. It is essential that their packaging bears the words “food supplement”, lists the nutrients and substances contained as well as their quantity and indicates the recommended daily dose.
Since 2012, the AFNOR NF V 94-001 standard has offered guarantees of reliability. By submitting to this standard, manufacturers are committed to ensuring that the manufacturing process makes it impossible for any contamination with a substance on the WADA prohibited list that could therefore lead to a positive control. Of course, all their ingredients are guaranteed non-doping. This standard makes it easy to identify healthy dietary supplements, but it is not foolproof and depends on the goodwill of the manufacturers.
However, food supplements are not just any other food and should not be viewed as such.
A healthy and balanced diet
Food must be at the heart of everyone's attention in general and athletes in particular. It cannot be overstated how important it is for it to be balanced and varied. If this goal is reached daily, the intake of essential nutrients will be more than enough to meet the needs of a healthy athlete.
Rare are the sports practices (very high energy expenditure, extreme climatic environments, etc.) which require additional supplies of vitamins and minerals. In these cases, it is strongly recommended to turn to a health professional specializing in athletic nutrition. It is he who will know how best to establish a healthy strategy of prescription of food supplements adapted to his real needs.
The importance of the pharmacist
Guarantee your offer
It is important for a pharmacist to offer a range of food supplements guaranteed without the presence of doping products. For more readability, it is interesting to group all the products intended for athletes around the same place. It is also important that pharmacists get involved openly in the fight against doping, by showing their attachment to this fight by posters or signs, for example. The day before on the subject is also important.
The problem of doping must be at the heart of the concerns of prescribers when dispensing a drug or a food supplement. Athletes should be encouraged, especially through posters, to make themselves known.
It is important to properly characterize the demand of an athlete:
- For who ? : him ?
- For when ? : over what duration?
- Why ? : for a competition or for training?
A varied and balanced diet makes it possible, in the vast majority of cases, to meet the needs of athletes for essential nutrients. Athletes too often tend to forget this and it should be remembered.
The biggest enemy of the athlete is self-medication, even, if not especially, when it comes to food supplements. It is therefore beneficial to refer him to a health professional specializing in sports nutrition.
One of the great dangers of dietary supplements is their possible interactions with other nutrients and other drugs. The side effects can be dramatic. It is therefore advisable to take stock with athletes on the other products they are taking.
Even though they are not prescribed by prescription, food supplements are not like any other food. Thus, the athlete must be reminded that:
- the risks associated with the purchase of unauthorized food supplements or on the internet, without guarantee, are great,
- the possibility of being tested positive at a doping control is important,
- certain standards protect against these risks but do not make them non-existent,
- contamination by harmful substances is a major problem,
- overdose and interactions are not to be taken lightly.